Roh Trailer: Malaysia's Oscar Submission Offers Folk Horror Chills [Exclusive]

Film Movement has provided us with a stunning exclusive trailer for "Roh," a supernatural thriller that served as Malaysia's Oscar submission last year. It will arrive via Virtual Cinema and, day-and-date, on Digital/VOD this October 29.

Here is the official synopses:

"Cut off from civilization, a single mother puts her children on high alert when they bring home a strange young girl caked in clay. She tells of spirits and spirit hunters, and after spending the night she delivers an ominous prophecy: the family will all soon die. As strangers begin to show up on her doorstep, and terrible events crop up around them, she quickly finds another reason to fear the forest. This eerily atmospheric folk horror tale marks the stunning directorial debut of seasoned visual effects artist Emir Ezwan. From the ominous lighting, off-kilter tone, isolated locations and strange goings on, 'Roh' is a visceral, spine-tingling revelation called "easily one of the most haunting and unnerving films of the year...a near masterclass of tension and quiet horror. (Carson Timar, Buttered Popcorn)."

Roh Trailer

In Malay the word "roh" specifically means spirit, although in an interesting twist, English-speaking countries have been translating the title as simply "Soul." Either title is appropriate as the eerie trailer suggests, complete with its twitchy ghost hunter and requisite scary little girl bringing all kinds of freaky to the equation.

What we see here definitely gives off distinct "The Witch" vibes, especially with its period setting of an isolated family deep in the wilderness. Like that 2015 film directed by Robert Eggers (who started his career as an art director), "Roh" director Emir Ezwan is making his feature debut and comes from a technical artistic background. Ezwan's visual effects work has been seen in Malaysian fare like "Crossroads: One Two Jaga," "Motif" and this year's "Barbarian Invasion." The film was actually made back in 2019 and intended for a 2020 release before COVID concerns pushed it back. 

Even the mighty director Edgar Wright of "Shaun of the Dead" and the forthcoming "Last Night in Soho" fame has sang the praises of "Roh," calling it "amazing stuff." While American films are very popular in Malaysia, where "Avengers: Endgame" is the highest grossing film, their local flicks have yet to yield a breakout success in North America the same way films from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, or Indonesia have. The horror genre is very popular there, though, with the Muslim-themed supernatural horror picture "Munafik 2" currently the most successful local film within the country. Perhaps "Roh" could help change that course in the USA?

"Roh" hits Virtual Cinema and, day-and-date, on Digital/VOD this October 29, 2021.